The chevron, or "rosetta," bead originated in Venice and became widely popular as a trade bead (used as currency) in Africa for centuries. Chevrons are created by building up several consecutive layers of color, and then grinding down the edges. The grinding exposes various layers of color, typically revealing a star (or "rosetta") pattern. Red, white and blue is the most typical color combination found in old chevrons, and this was the color combination most prevalently traded in West Africa. Even though the technology to make Venetian-style layered-glass chevrons did not exist in most of Africa until recently, the style gained such popularity that African-made beads of clay, bone and other materials were (and still are) sometimes painted or stained with chevron ("V"-shaped) designs.
We carry a full line of African beads, both old trade beads, and newer beads made or strung in Africa for the world-wide bead trade. Trade beads are old and/or used beads, and will show varying amounts of wear. Newly-made African beads are generally handmade in small communities. Style and availability vary.